Are you a haggler? I’ve never been good at it. If something is priced higher than I think it’s worth, I’d just as soon walk away. If a price is fair and I want the item, I’ll just go ahead and get it. But that’s not the way some people operate.
A friend who runs a car dealership, another friend who’s a realtor and I were chatting recently about the economy and how it affects our industries. The car manager said he’s frustrated at the way people grind him down on cars, playing dealerships against each other and thinking they’re getting one over on ‘the man”. Meanwhile, when all is said and done, he might clear $100. on a used car. There’s a perception that he’s making thousands on every deal and that he’s got loads of wiggle room on the price. Maybe that’s how it was in the old days but not anymore.
The realtor said people try to cut his commission all the time. Have you ever sold a house? I truly believe that a good real estate agent earns what he or she makes. I would never want to go through the bull and the round-the-clock hassle of home sales. He says he never agrees to a cut but there are times when he offers one. When the situation is right and the house perhaps has sold lower than he expected, the people are great and he wants to leave them feeling a little better about their lives, he takes less commission. But it has to be his idea.
We talked about not negotiating on prices. It’s a wonderful concept. Everyone needs to make some profit. Families have to be fed and bills need to be paid. So if everyone priced their goods or services accordingly and we all just paid the price without expecting a discount, the world would be a simpler place.
Sounds idyllic doesn’t it? If you can afford it, it’s a wonderful way to operate. But it’s not the reality for most of us, unfortunately. Too many merchants would try to put one over on us and I’ve seen enough people try to pay .50 cents for a 5 dollar item to know that it won’t work here. But I love the concept and I think it’s OK to believe that it would be a better way to treat our fellow men and women than we do right now, even as I continue to live in a real world where I need to shop around for the best possible price on my next big-ticket item.